On Monday night at Memorial Hall, Tyrone Garner made history when he was sworn in as the first Black mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS.
Hundreds of community members gathered for the historic occasion and to hear Garner’s vision for Wyandotte County’s future.
“Please rest easy knowing that I’m going to work hard for you and I’m going to fight in a way that better reflects community driven leadership,” Garner said. “Together, let’s make it happen.”
In a tight race last month, Garner defeated first-term Mayor David Alvey by just 300 votes.
Garner, 52, retired last year as deputy chief of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department after 32 years. He joined the department as a cadet after graduating from Wyandotte High School. A U.S. Army veteran, Garner also served as a trustee of the Kansas City, Kansas Community College Board and the Kansas City, Kansas Housing Authority Board.
During his inaugural speech, Garner listed priorities he has during his term as mayor including making the Unified Government administration more accountable to residents, conducting a complete audit of the Board of Public Utilities, reducing blight and supporting affordable youth programs.
“We all know that things won’t happen quickly,” he said. “But if we come together in unity, collaboration, and most importantly love, I’m confident that we will see progress from where we’re at today.”
District 1 Commissioner Gayle Townsend was sworn in earlier, but the remaining four commissioners elected in November were also sworn in on Monday. Returning commissioners were Tom Burroughs, At-Large District 2 and Mike Kane, District 5. Sworn in for their first terms were Chuck Stites for Commissioner District 7, and Andrew Davis for Commissioner District 8. Daniel Soptic was sworn in as Wyandotte County Sheriff.
“We all worked very hard to get to where we’re at, but we cannot do this alone,” Davis said. “Vote every year. Join your neighborhood group, join or start a PTA or be involved in your community in some way, shape or form so that we can move our community forward.”
Garner shared the same sentiment, “I urge you to please get involved in what is taking place in our community. Make your voice known and heard.”
“Most importantly, hold me and all those that represent you accountable to the expectations you have for us. If we’re not perfect, vote us out,” Garner said.